Conferences and debates

Tunisia Adrift?

January 13, 20226:00 p.m.
Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Alcalá, 62). 6:00 p.m. Free entry until the auditorium’s capacity is reached. Face mask use is mandatory at all times throughout all of our facilities.
In Spanish.

On Thursday, January 13, we will be resuming our conference schedule with this round table discussion, including participation by analysts Bernabé López García (UAM) and Bosco Govantes (U. Pablo de Olavide). You can watch it live on YouTube.

To many analysts, Kais Saied, elected president in 2019, is a populist ruler who suspended Tunisia’s parliament in July 2021, stating that he would rule by decree, after a coup given widespread public support. Until Saied’s coup, Tunisia’s was seen as the only example of a successful democratic transition among the Arab countries which had undergone uprisings in 2011. According to polls, he is overwhelmingly supported by Tunisians, who had grown fed up with years of political dysfunction under a series of weak coalition governments. However, the president’s divisive rhetoric has created a noticeable atmosphere of intimidation. After five months of speculation, President Saied finally explained his plan for constitutional reform in December 2021, pledging to hold a referendum to vote on a new constitution in July. While a great deal of the president’s energy remains focused on political reform, no answer seems to be in sight for solving the chronic economic problems taking a toll on everyday life. Saied’s critics fear that he is leading the country into uncharted waters, in a return to dictatorship. Eleven years after the Tunisian revolution, Casa Árabe has invited two experts to analyze the political developments in this North African country, and its immediate future.

The round table will include participation by analysts Bernabé López García, department chair and honorary professor of Arab and Islamic Studies at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and Bosco Govantes, a professor of Political Science at Pablo de Olavide University, as well as an expert on Tunisia at the Observatory on Politics and Elections in the Arab and Muslim World (OPEMAM).

Bernabé López García is a department chair and honorary professor of Arab and Islamic Studies at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, as well as a specialist on Arab world history and social movements and the  Maghreb region in contemporary times. He has authored numerous works, the most notable of which include: Marruecos político. Cuarenta años de procesos electorales (1960-2000) (Political Morocco: Forty years of elections [1960-2000],  CIS-Siglo XXI, 2000), Marruecos y España. Una historia contra toda lógica (Morocco and Spain: A history that defies logic, RD Editores-Historia, 2007), Orientalismo e ideología colonial en el arabismo español (1840-1917) (Orientalism and Colonial Ideology in Spanish Arabism [1840-1917], Granada, 2011) and España, el Mediterráneo y el mundo arabomusulmán. Diplomacia e historia (Spain, the Mediterranean and the Arab-Muslim World: Diplomacy and history, Barcelona, 2011).

Bosco Govantes holds a PhD in Political Science and is an Assistant Professor at the Pablo de Olavide University. His lines of research revolve around Euro-Mediterranean politics, study of transitional processes, and politics and elections in North Africa. He is a member of the Group for Studies on Arab and Mediterranean Societies (GRESAM), the Arab and Muslim World Research Forum (FIMAM) and the Arab and Muslim World Politics and Elections Observatory (OPEMAM), as an expert on Tunisia. He worked as an election observer in Tunisia’s municipal, legislative and presidential elections in 2018 and 2019.
Tunisia Adrift?